Presidential Election 2017: Nitish Kumar refuses to reconsider support, says Congress has started process of defeat in 2019

After Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his cabinet of ministers decided to support the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Ram Nath Kovind as the nomination for the next President of India, RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav said he appealed to Nitish to reconsider his support. He termed it as a historical mistake by the Janata Dal (United) leader.

 Presidential Election 2017: Nitish Kumar refuses to reconsider support, says Congress has started process of defeat in 2019

File image of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav. PTI

Alok Kumar quotes Lalu as saying in this Firstpost piece, "People of Bihar will never forget Nitish Kumar. Now a daughter of Bihar from Dalit background has been named the presidential candidate. Nitish should have waited and thought about it. He has done a big mistake and will pay price for that."

"Today, I am appealing to Nitish to reconsider his decision and support the daughter of Bihar," Lalu told reporters.

The Opposition leaders also termed it as "unfortunate". "It is unfortunate that the JD(U) took this stand. This was the sense of the house," said a leader present at the Opposition meeting.

However, JD(U) refused to reconsider its decision on Thursday. JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi said that they had arrived at the decision to support Kovind after looking at all aspects. "And political decisions are not changed all the time," he added.

After Lalu did not back down from his stand of urging Nitish to change his decision, the chief minister lashed out at his alliance partner on Friday. He even questioned the Opposition's decision to field Meira Kumar against Kovind, reported Alok Kumar. He asked the Opposition why did they field 'Bharat ki Beti' to face defeat in the election.

"The Opposition should analyse their decision and not us. I had told them there was no need of fighting in the presidential election and a decision could have been reached through consensus," Nitish said.

"I respect Meira Kumar and she has worked a lot for our country. However, it is being said that 'Bharat ki Beti' has been made a candidate. Now I ask the Opposition that when you had two terms at the Centre, why didn't you make 'Bharat ki Beti' the president then," he added.

The chief minister further said that his party always makes decisions independently and will not bow to any pressure. "This issue has nothing to do with the Mahagathbandan in Bihar. I will keep it above poliics," Nitish said.

He also lashed out at the Congress and said, "I will not blame anyone but UPA has not taken a practical decision. Instead of thinking about defeating the NDA in the 2019 general election, they have started the process of their own defeat." Nitish said he has conveyed his decision to Lalu, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad reacted to Nitish's statements and said that this is an ideological fight and his party never compromised with ideology.

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Jun 23, 2017 20:45:15 IST

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